‘Constellation’ Episode 7 Recap: What Is The Connection Between Valya And Jo?

Two worlds come crashing together, breaking through the unseen barriers separating them, as Apple TV+’s cosmic mystery thriller Constellation reaches new heights with each episode. Stranded in a reality where she doesn’t belong, Jo gradually finds herself cornered by an alternate version of the world she knows, which seeks to disparage her, as the truth of her experience can unravel conspiracies and cover-ups pertaining to space exploration of historical proportions. A fleeting ray of hope was presented to her in the penultimate episode of the season as she almost reunited with her daughter, only to be separated eventually, and with the finale approaching soon, Jo’s fate dangles in uncertainty. 


Previously, a glimpse into Jo’s reality was shown, where Paul, from an alternate reality, found himself getting mysteriously displaced—just like Jo herself. It turns out Jo had switched places with her alternate version, who had passed away during the accident on the ISS, leaving Paul as the survivor. In her quest to find answers, Jo had stolen the CAL device, and taking alternate Alice along with her, she went to the ‘Space Listener’ Bang siblings, from whom she found audio recordings of her time on the ISS. As Jo took alternate Alice to the family cabin located in Vindelälven to escape the authorities, the recordings confirmed that she had been displaced from her reality. On the other hand, Alice from prime reality continues to get visions that hint at Jo’s survival and to find her mother, she urges Magnus to take her to the cabin as well (the prime reality counterpart of the place). The emotional core of the show, represented very well by the mother-daughter dynamics, gets strongly highlighted in the seventh episode most vividly, as the episode “Through the Looking Glass” justifies the reference to Lewis Caroll’s novel of the same name in a unique way. 

Spoilers Ahead


Did Prime Reality Alice Finally Find Her Mother?

As the episode begins, Alice (prime reality) sees Jo to be present outside the cabin and is immediately hit with a sense of shock, happiness, and anxiety. She rushes outside to meet her mother, only to be greeted with darkness and a cold, snowy breeze, as no one is seen to be present. A crushing pain wrecks the little girl, as she calls out to her mother to no avail and, wearing her snow gear, decides to sneak out of the cabin in search of Jo. 

On the other hand, in an alternate reality, Jo and Alice seem perplexed after learning that their experiences of the events before the accident on the ISS differ a lot, as revealed from the recordings. Alternate Alice doesn’t speak Swedish, whereas the recordings reveal Jo to be speaking with her daughter in her native language. Alternate Alice spoke with her mother (alternate Jo) about the CAL device, of which Jo has no recollection, as in reality, this device doesn’t exist. She tries to explain to Alice the nature of the device, which, under the right conditions, captures the quantum superposition of matter—a state when a single object exists in two places at the same time. As their conversation progresses, alternate Alice finds another audio recording of Jo from the day after the accident, which, much to their shock, contains details about Jo’s death in an alternate reality from Paul’s conversation with TsUP. Jo freaks out and tries to avoid the topic altogether, and as alternate Alice finally decides to address the elephant in the room—whether she is really her mother or not—Jo is unable to find a plausible answer. 


Alice, in prime reality, continues to walk through extremely harsh weather conditions and starts crossing the frozen lake while desperately searching for Jo. While taking the CAL device to store it outside the cabin, Jo hears her scream and gets perplexed after seeing alternate Alice sleeping inside the cabin. Curious, she starts following the voice through the snowy darkness. The cinematography of the episode starts becoming terrifyingly beautiful as the haunting atmosphere of inhabitable Tundra matches the cold, dark, silent depths of space in a unique way. Amidst the raging snowstorm, Alice spots a light on the other side of the lake, and reaching it  she finds another cabin, which looks dilapidated and haunted from outside. Alice enters the cabin, and as she reaches the cupboard and steps inside, she accidentally locks herself in. Jo eventually reaches the cabin as well, and finally she meets her own daughter as she rescues her from the cupboard. 

Jo brings Alice back to their cabin and recognizes her as she gives her a hot water bath. However, as Jo steps outside the bathroom to bring more hot water, she is transported back to the alternate reality, and Alice returns to the cabin of prime reality. Jo is utterly confused and tries to question Alice regarding seeing the other version of her, but her talks seem like senile ramblings to alternate Alice, who was already skeptical of her ‘mother’s’ mental state. Alice informs Magnus about her searching for Jo and finally meeting her, which he dismisses as her trauma speaking. Later, Alice once again sneaks out of the cabin, and in alternate reality, Jo takes alternate Alice alongside her while going to search for her daughter outside. 


Two Alices Meet Each Other: Was Jo Able To Save Both Of Them?

Alternate Alice tries to dissuade Jo from going on her way to find a second cabin and shares the opinion she has gathered from people’s perceptions about Jo’s mental state—that astronauts often get overwhelmed by the experience in space and find it tough to find themselves back to the flow of things. Jo has not been able to convince the world she’s telling the truth, and now, with her ‘other daughter’ expressing doubts, she finally reveals that she fears that she might not be her daughter to begin with. Heartbroken, alternate Alice rushes through the snowstorm, throwing the CAL device away, and Jo goes after her to ensure her safety. Alternate Alice reaches the dilapidated cabin and realizes that her mother wasn’t delusional after all. She reaches the first-floor cupboard as well and takes the tape record player with her, which she finds inside the cabin. Alice reaches the cabin as well, and alternate, Alice tries to communicate with her using the tape recorder. Alice and alternate Alice share information about their respective situations, and ultimately they realize that Jo has switched places with the alternate reality version of her, who has passed away in the ISS accident. The duo even look at each other through the mirror inside the cupboard, which is a reference to the episode’s title and the reference to Lewis Caroll’s novel, which chronicles Alice’s visit to the mirror world. 

In the meantime, in alternate reality, Magnus, Frederic, and Henry lead an immense search party to find Jo and alternate Alice. For them, Jo is a mentally unstable fugitive who has stolen the CAL device and needs immediate rehabilitation before things get much worse. Henry states that he shared the same fate as Jo after returning from the Apollo 18 mission and coped only by throwing himself into his work and taking the anti-psychotic pills throughout. In truth, Henry Caldera swapped places with Bud Caldera, who had to live in misery after getting stranded in an alternate, uncompromising reality. As previously shown, Bud promised retribution and warned Henry of consequences as he sought to take back everything that was taken from him. The search party makes a halt after roads get blocked due to snow, and walking across the frozen lake, Henry comes across the CAL device. As Henry reaches the cabin, he inexplicably switches places with Bud, who, at that point in time, had shot the alternate reality Paul Lancaster. 


This time, Magnus has been awakened and tries to find his daughter by venturing outside. Both Magnus and Jo reach their current reality’s respective version of the family cabin and overhear the conversation between the two Alices from the tape recorder inside the cupboard. Both Alices accidentally lock themselves in, prompting both parents to try to save them in their own way. Magnus calls the authorities, while Jo rushes outside the cabin to desperately reach the other side. The alternate reality cabin catches fire, which Jo notices much later while driving through the snow, and returns to the cabin to rescue Alice, only to get transported into the dilapidated version of the cabin. Hugo Simberg’s paintings adorning the walls of the cabin, which symbolize and emphasize the duality of the contrasting realities, reflect the fire on the other side. Jo finds alternate Alice in the cupboard of the cabin, and thanks to her assistance, she manages to send a message to her daughter, Alice, promising to find a way to return to her. The fire suddenly erupts as the cabin has been covered in flames, and the smoke causes Alice to lose consciousness. Jo brings her outside, hands her over to Bud (not knowing that he isn’t Henry), and returns back to rescue her daughter, only to end up finding no one inside. 

What Is The Connection Between Valya And Jo?

Bud takes alternate Alice to safety and basically leaves her in the snow, as he is too confused at the moment after the switcheroo has brought him right from San Francisco to the freezing cold of northern Sweden. Henry Caldera, on the other hand, is horrified to see himself as the possible killer of his former apprentice and rushes to contact the authorities. 


Jo steps outside the burning cabin, which once again captures the hauntingly beautiful tone of the series as well. Seeing alternate Alice to be still unconscious, she attends to her, and as she tries to stabilize her vitals, Alice arrives there as well. Jo is extremely relieved to see her daughter safe, but she needs to take care of her ‘other daughter’ at the moment. Alice states that she can no longer feel her alternate version to be alive, but a desperate Jo tries her best anyway. Magnus, from prime reality, comes across the cabin in search of his daughter, and from a distance, he almost notices Jo to be alive and talking with Alice. 

Learning from Alice that Magnus has arrived, Jo asks her to go to him for the time being, much to Alice’s dismay, who is afraid of losing her mother once again. Jo reassures her and sends her to Magnus, who immediately decides to take Alice back to their cabin. The search party arrives moments later, and alternate Magnus starts blaming Jo for alternate Alice’s condition right from the beginning. Fortunately, alternate Alice starts breathing again, but Jo is aghast after realizing that she has lost her daughter once again. Crying aloud to find her daughter, Jo maniacally runs through the snow, only to be restrained by the authorities, who take her to rehabilitation. After returning to their cabin in prime reality, Alice tells Magnus that she met Jo, and this time Magnus finds it hard to refute her claim as he has caught a glimpse of her as well. They look at Simberg’s portrait of “The Wounded Angel,”  which emphasizes Jo’s current condition in an alternate reality. 


Alternate Alice goes through a recovery period in the hospital, where she sees a nightmarish vision of Valya, the desiccated corpse of the Russian cosmonaut, who states that she can take her to her mother. After waking up, alternate Alice learns from her father that Jo is under the care of Irena Lysenko, the former Russian cosmonaut, and sensing danger, she asks Magnus to bring Jo back. Much like Valya, alternate Alice’s mother, alternate Jo, had been abandoned in the space to die, and it is hinted that Valya might be an alternate version of Irena as well. Jo’s survival is the much-needed missing link that can expose cover-ups like Valya’s death and many more unheard stories that get lost in space, and it seems like Irena is among the people who are not willing to let that happen.

This episode was brilliant in terms of cinematography, symbolical references, and narrative uniqueness—in short, in every aspect, which has become a strong suit of the series over the course of seven episodes. A special mention needed to be made of the dead cat or alive cat in the haunted version of the cabin, which at the same time references Schrödinger’s cat phenomenon and also the two cats in mirror reflection realities in the novel “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.” The references are elevated through taut storytelling, which balances sci-fi, horror, and emotional elements in a proper way, making the series a remarkable success in the process. 


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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